I think that from time to time we need to remind ourselves why we meditate.It’s so easy to forget. It seems everything and nearly everyone conspires in this forgetting. That is why we come to places where for a short time at least we set aside the iPhones with all their charming and ever-intriguing apps to enter into remembrance. Laurence Freeman, OSB, in a question and answer session I recently heard on-line, was asked why one should bother with meditation. He paused for some moments before answering his questioner. “Because time is so short,” was his answer.
In meditation we unhook the mind. The mind of anxiety, doubts, craving, and compulsiveness.
The mind I am speaking of is primarily one-dimensional and is characterized by what psychologists call primary process thinking. This mind is so familiar to meditators, it’s what we wade through in the process of settling the mind on the breath: the seemingly incessant push and pull of liking and disliking, of self adoration and defamation, of planning and remembering (often with ego-affirming revisions).
The tragedy is that is mind is unfamiliar to most people, whose lives are often lived in its clutches.
We unhook this mind by returning again and again to the breath (or our chosen object of meditation).
We stop picking at our wounds so they can finally heal.
As long as we remain caught up in the one-dimensional energy of ego consciousness we keep flying right past the eternal now in which we can find true comfort and rest.
This eternal now is beyond the reach of the mind, yet it does not require immense effort to reach, because it’s always right here and now.
It’s simply a matter of a little patience, and some regular periods of mediation practice, over time. And over time, meditation, when practiced consistently, can evoke subtle alterations of consciousness which bring one to a place that offers the least resistance to real, lasting change.
from The Four Quartets (Burnt Norton) y T.S. Eliot
And so each venture Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate, With shabby equipment always deteriorating In the general mess of imprecision of feeling, Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer By strength and submission, has already been discovered Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope To emulate – but there is no competition – There is only the fight to recover what has been lost And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss. For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.
Each time we sit down to meditate is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate … in the general mess of imprecision of feeling.
The conditions we face never seem appropriate. We put off meditation until we feel better or have more energy or more time.
But, for us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.
The trying is simply our consistent efforts to regularly show up for meditation, in our home, on the bed before going to sleep, or in some other place.
The place we make our efforts to reach is like the center of a hub of a wheel.
We can only bring ourselves to the center; the center acts on us over time.
How it does this is really not our concern, not our business.
We can’t make the center change us, we can only do our part to get there, to a place where there is the least resistance to allow this real and lasting change to take place.
This change, this lasting peace, cannot be induced, or forced, or willed in any way. It can only be received.
It’s an outbreak of peace.
Don’t worry about, theorize, or read about it. Just bring yourself to the center.
Once a day.
Over time our daily practice starts to infuse our life. Some days it’s like an low level underwater explosion, only heard and felt inside. Other days it seems like nothing is happening.
And it is.
That nothing, which is the stillness at the center of the wheel, is happening
That nothing, oddly, is like a compass–it shows us where center is.
I agree with Laurence Freeman. We can’t afford to waste a minute. The sooner we connect to the center, the better.
What keeps us from this outbreak of peace, this lasting change we all seek?
Nothing except ideas in our mind that this center is far way, or that we aren’t worthy, or smart enough, or … the list is endless).
These are the ideas constantly generated in the mind we unhook everyday.
This surely a good use of our time.
James Finley remarked once that taking the time to transcend the tyranny of time is time well spent.
Please explore a re-commitment to your true self for real, lasting peace. That’s what we’re here to help you do.
Enter your best email below and we'll send you our weekly support newsletter to help keep you moving forward on this journey of a lifetime. You can easily unsubscribe anytime.